Stealth, guile, cunning and death; this is the way of the ninja. Bound by codes and forged in the ancient traditions of the East, the ninja warrior has adopted and perfected techniques from the far distant past, honing them for his own particular needs. The Kuji-in hand signs are certainly no exception. Developed by Taoist and Buddhist practitioners, these potent gestures now serve far darker masters. The nine ninja hand signs of the Kuji-in form the powerbase of the deadly shinobi warrior.
Ninja Rin – The Diamond Thunderbolt
The seal of the diamond thunderbolt inspires both physical and mental strength. It is a pre-action hand sign, channeling power throughout the body in preparation for combat. The buildup of Rin energy often causes a release of bodily gases, a side effect known as “The Stench of Death” within the ninja community.
Ninja Pyō – The Great Thunderbolt
Pyō, or the seal of the great thunderbolt, enables a ninja to direct his energy. When fully charged, the ninja can quite easily crush a child’s skull with one hand or rip the beating heart from an adult panda. The seal of Pyō is a particularly complex one. Trainee ninjas are often beheaded in battle while trying to figure out the correct finger position.
Ninja Tō – The Outer Lion
Despite being seen by many ninjas as “a bit gay”, Tō is nonetheless a powerful symbol. The seal of the outer lion helps a ninja to achieve a sense of harmony. At a meditative level, this sense of harmony is calming, connecting man with his environment. Hardcore ninjas push Tō to logical extremes. Total harmony with the universe reveals the insignificance of all life, turning the ninja into a completely cold, perfectly harmonized killer.
Ninja Sha – The Inner Lion
Even ninjas suffer occasional cuts and bruises. The gesture of Sha promotes the healing of both the self and others, a bit like having Dr. House as a spirit guide.
Ninja Kai – The Outer Bonds
Kai enhances a ninja’s premonition of danger. This enhanced sensory awareness also gives an insight into the general emotional state of others, making ninjas highly effective card players. A 2001 study by the Institute of Martial Arts and Brawling found that 38 percent of a ninja’s yearly income comes from poker tournaments (not online). Many casinos have since implemented restrictions that limit ninjas to slot machines and roulette.
Ninja Jin – The Inner Bonds
Jin allows a ninja to hear the thoughts of others, much like Mel Gibson in What Women Want. The seal of the inner bonds also shields a ninja’s thoughts from others. Jin is a high-level ability, and a potentially dangerous one. If performed incorrectly, the ninja will shield his own thoughts from himself, plunging him into a vegetative state from which there is no escape. Senior ninjas jokingly call this “Fuckuji-in Up”.
Ninja Retsu – The Wisdom Fist
Retsu is the seal of the wisdom fist, also known as Chiken-in (not to be confused with the Chicken Inn in Chicago, known for its excellent chicken and courteous service). According to the Eiko’in website, the implications of this particular Kuji-in are profound. In theory, Retsu gives a ninja control over time and space. However, a May 2007 survey found that 9 out of 10 ninjas believed that controlling space-time, while cool in theory, was really “a load of glorified, mystical bullshit”.
Ninja Zai – The Ring of the Sun
The seal of the ring of the sun gives a ninja limited elemental control. By connecting the ninja with nature, Zai allows the warrior to use the sky, the river and other natural elements in battle. At the lowest level of control, a ninja can influence poultry and rodents, forcing them into frenzied attacks against enemy warriors and strongholds. The mightiest ninjas are able to control larger beasts such as yaks, camels and elephants. On January 16, 1999, shinobi master Yamashiro Toshtoshitora controlled rock legend Meat Loaf for a full 16 minutes during the filming of Fight Club.
Ninja Zen – The Hidden Form
Zen offers far more than the self-exploration and enlightenment typically sought by aging hippies and cross-legged, yoga obsessed MILFs. For the ninja, the seal of the hidden form offers the ultimate stealth weapon: invisibility. In the entire history of ninjutsu, only eight ninjas have ever been credited with full invisibility. Of those eight, six were never seen again. Witnesses saw the two remaining ninjas vanish and reappear during the legendary sake binge of 1333. Records taken during the 49-hour event also list 68 deaths, 16 marriages, 11 pregnancies, and the appearance of 4 levitating rabbits, an eight-armed giant and a laughing wall of fire.
The Ninja Hand Positions in Use
Are you a ninja? Have you perfected any of the nine ninja hand gestures? Please share your experiences, perhaps even your knowledge, with those who would dream to learn the ways of the dark shinobi. In the meantime, buy a set of ninja throwing knives.
Shinobi image by Angelstreet (Wikimedia Commons, public domain).
All ninja hand images by Fornitm (Wikipedia, public domain).